I was working with the crew at DePaul University this past week and we talked for a while about the danger signs that would indicate the unhealthy use of a site collection. So I thought I'd share some of our conversation with you all. Many thanks to the talented team at DePaul University for their input in thinking through this with me.
Constant Need to Move Information Out of the Site Collection to Keep it Within Prescribed Database Ranges
This is actually a constant battle for several of our clients who must keep information for X number of years, but still need to have that information available for collaboration within the site collection. Recommendation: programmatically move the oldest information to a file server or other location so that the newest information can be developed and utilized within the site collection. Use Scopes in search to group the two locations together for fast retrieval of information.
URLs longer than 256 characters
We've know about this for some time, but it seems to me that URLs that are longer than 256 characters represent either a lack of good user education or an information structure that is too deep (or both). Wide, but more shallow site collections will help prevent this problem.
Lack of good end-user education
Despite what you might have heard, SharePoint is not entirely intuitive. Users need education, not only on how to use it, but also on how to use it within your environment (think Governance training here).
Installation of untested home-grown code
Note that I'm not against home-grown code being installed and utilized in your farm. What I'm against is untested code. Site collections with untested code = high potential for disaster. This was brought home (not by DePaul), but by our theoretical (and tangential) discussion of how much code should be tested in a lab before being deployed in production.
Wrongly Secured Information
I suspect that most people don't stop to think about the site collection owners having access to every document and list item within the site collection. If information is placed in a site collection to which the site collection owners should not have access, then you have wrongly secured that information. It should be moved to a site collection whose SC owners can and should be able to see the information.
There were more items we came up with, but this is all I can remember. Perhaps I'll get the rest of the list and post it here at some point. Thanks.